Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Harley’s Story

It was fall 2005, post Katrina, and I was traveling from Memphis to south Louisiana to find and adopt a dog left homeless. I had searched the Internet and found a shelter that would be open over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I would have only an hour to spend at the shelter because the drive would take so long and I had to be back at work on Monday.

I headed out. After many hours, I arrived at the shelter. It was packed and wet with desperation. As I walked down the dark narrow passageway between the indoor kennels, I had to fight the impulse to cover my eyes and ears. When we finally entered a fenced area, the shelter owner brought out several dogs and then added one that ran around wildly. She said that many families had looked at the wild one but no one wanted her because she was so strangely undomesticated. Her name was Harley.

The shelter owner explained that about a year earlier, Harley had been boarded at the local vet’s office while her owner went into the hospital. She was only 3 months old. Unfortunately, the owner died and no one ever came to pick Harley up, so she spent the next year boarded and was kept tranquilized in an effort to keep her calm.

When the hurricane loomed, the vet decided to evacuate. He called the shelter to see if they could take on another dog. The shelter picked up Harley and endured the storm with all their animals. When they told me that no one would adopt her, I signed the papers and loaded her into my car.

Harley is extremely intelligent and an excellent watch dog. I learned from the records that I later got from the vet that she is half Chocolate Lab and half Austrian Shepard. The veterinarian was very relieved to learn that she had been adopted.

Harley has a residual habit that she may never overcome. She repeatedly spins in tight circles when close to me, always to the left. In the back yard where she has room to run, she has worn a path, a perfect circle, about 12 feet in diameter. She runs and reruns her circle, always to the left. I can only guess that she probably did this constantly while boarded.

Harley is a wonderful pet and many thanks are due to the veterinarian and the shelter for keeping her alive. The shelter owner said that Harley truly has an angel watching over her.

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